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Women and Children's Role in 16th Century England

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on 21 November 2014

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Transcript of Women and Children's Role in 16th Century England

Women and Children's Role in 16th Century England
Connection to Romeo and Juliet
There is a connection between the play Romeo and Juliet and Women and children's role in the 16th century. In Romeo and Juliet, Juliet's dad, Capulet forced a marriage upon Juliet. He arranged a wedding between Juliet and Paris even though Juliet was very much against that. She did not get a say. This connects to women and children's role in the 16th century because back in time the parents made the final call on who their child shall marry.
Women's Jobs
Children's Education
Women in the 16th century were mostly wives and mothers.
Marriages were arranged, the father of the bride would choose who she was to marry. Nobody ever could get a divorce as it was unknown back then. Girls could legally get married when they were 12 years old! However normally, it was only girls from rich families who married young. The majority of women married in their mid-20s.

Childbirth was very dangerous in the 16th century. Many women died while giving birth to their baby because the person who was delivering the baby had very dirty hands and the women would become infected.
Poor women tended to give birth about once every two years. Rich women gave birth more often, perhaps once a year.
Women were expected to do 3 crucial things in life, spin cloth, prepare medicine for their family and bake.
If they did not know how to do any of these they would be considered useless.
Spinning Cloth
Preparing medicine
Only boys had the privilege to get an education. This is because girls were considered the weaker gender. The boys were expected to follow their fathers footsteps. The only thing girls were taught was needle work to make clothing, dancing and music.
Source- online
Life of Women in the 16th Century
Tim Lambert
Website URL-
In the 16th century clothes were usually made of wool or linen. Only rich women could afford cotton and silk. All women wore hats, the poorest women wore a linen hat. 16th century women wore a kind of coat made of either linen or wool and a wool dress over it. A woman's dress was made of two parts, a vest-like undergarment and a skirt. All sleeves were held on with laces and could easily be detached if wanted.
It was very fashionable for wealthy women to have pale skin. This is because if you were sunburned, you were considered poor as it shows you had to work hard in the hot sun. Women whitened their skin with egg whites. They reddened their lips and cheeks with cochineal which is a dye made from crushed beetles.
In the 16th century there was a division of labor between both men and women. Certain parts of life were regarded as a man's job and certain parts of life were regarded as a women's job. It is a myth that 16th century women were shy and weak. There were some women who conveyed strength of character and the ability to influence.
Today we will be talking to you about the life of a woman and child back in the 16th century.
Full transcript